Derrick Henry will be the Tennessee Titans’ starting running back in 2020, thanks to the $10.2 million franchise tender he signed earlier this month.
But beyond next season?
Well, that’s unclear right now.
Henry and the Titans tried to work out an extension during the offseason, but the two parties were unable to come to an agreement. Tennessee, knowing they had the franchise tag in their back pocket, had all the leverage during negotiations (Henry never indicated a desire to hold out). The tag wasn’t a surprise at all.
The big question, now, is will the Titans eventually extend Henry? Or will they use the franchise tag again next season and be content with just getting two more years out of the 26 year old running back?
Based on Tennessee’s first round selection of Georgia offensive tackle Isaiah Wilson on Thursday night, I think the answer is option one. An extension seems likely.
— AtoZSports Nashville (@AtoZSports) April 24, 2020
The Titans’ selection of Wilson, a massive 6-foot-6/350 lb offensive tackle, is a clear signal to the rest of the league that Tennessee has no plans of altering the run first approach in the near future. Wilson is the type of offensive tackle that running backs like Henry love to run behind.
Wilson is athletic, smart, and young. He could potentially hold down the right tackle spot for the Titans for the next decade.
Imagine linebackers trying to get past Wilson to Henry? By the time they fight through a Wilson block, they’ll be no match for Henry (not that most defenders are to begin with).
I guess it could be argued that Tennessee being committed to a strong run game doesn’t necessarily mean they plan on extending Henry. But there aren’t running backs like Derrick Henry falling from the sky. Henry isn’t a plug and play guy. He’s a special talent that separates himself from the rest of the running backs in the NFL with the way violent way he plays the position. If Tennessee is going to aggressively run the ball for the next five years, Henry is the best running back to carry the rock.
More potential moves
The Titans’ decision to select an offensive lineman (who might not play immediately, thanks to Dennis Kelly and his recent new contract), signals that they’re either comfortable with the edge rushers on their roster or they’re about to make a splash and sign Jadeveon Clowney.
I’m not going to sit here and predict that Clowney is going to be a Titan. But the door is certainly still open.
Clowney thought he was worth more than the market thought he was worth. And it seems as though his relationship with the Seattle Seahawks has soured.
The Titans would obviously be a great fit for Clowney. And if he wants to win, there’s not a better destination.
Featured image via Bryan Lynn-USA TODAY Sports